Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Patterns of Physical Activity and Overweight among 7-13-Year-Old Russian Children: A 7-Year Nationally Representative Monitoring Study

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Patterns of Physical Activity and Overweight among 7-13-Year-Old Russian Children: A 7-Year Nationally Representative Monitoring Study

Article excerpt

This is a repeated, cross-sectional study of overweight and physical activity (PA) and inactivity patterns of successive samples of 7-13-year-old Russian children who were surveyed six times between 1995 and 2002 as part of the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey. This analysis focused on moderate/vigorous (MOD/VIG) PA (e.g., active commuting to school, during school MOD/VIG PA as part of physical education classes, and/or before/after school MOD/VIG PA) and inactivity patterns (e.g., television viewing habits) obtained through parent proxy-reports of 3,507 boys (M age = 10.1 years, SD = 2.0; body, mass index = 17. 5 kg/[m.sup.2], SD = 3.0) and 3,273 girls (M age = 10.1 years, SD = 2. 0; body mass index = 17. 2 kg/[m.sup.2], SD = 3. 0). Time spent in MOD/VIG PA appears to be on the rise, while the proportion of those actively' commuting to school is decreasing, especially among girls.

Key words: active commuting, exercise, physical education, youth

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The emergence of youth obesity epidemics in the developing world is a relatively recent global public health concern (Wang, Monteiro, & Popkin, 2002). A plausible causal candidate for the epidemic in childhood is a drastic diminution in energy expended related to changes in moderate/vigorous (MOD/VIG) physical activity (PA; e.g., active commuting to school, during school MOD/VIG PA as part of physical education classes, and/ or before/alter school MOD/VIG PA) and inactivity patterns (e.g., television viewing habits). Unfortunately, few studies exist to examine the relationship, if any, between children's PA, inactivity, and weight status.

Developing countries and those considered to have transitional economies are experiencing dramatic social and economic shifts that likely have an important impact on individual behaviors and related health outcomes. For example, the Russian Republic introduced sweeping social and economic reforms (e.g., subsidies for dairy and meat products during the early 1990s and, more recently, gasoline subsidies). The Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Study (RLMS) is a nationally representative household survey designed to assess the impact of these reforms on its citizens' well being. The RLMS has been administered 11 times since 1992 and has included youth anthropometric and PA data during its six most recent iterations. It therefore represents a unique opportunity for preliminary exploration of the relationship between PA, inactivity, and prevalence of weight status defined by accepted body mass index (BMI) cut points. Herein we use the nationally representative repeated cross-sectional study of PA and inactivity patterns and BMI-defined weight status in successive samples of school-aged (7-13-year-old) Russian children (surveyed in Rounds 6-11 of the RLMS).

Method

Study Design

Households from all regions of Russia were surveyed between 1992 and 2002 in two RLMS phases comprising separate samples representative of the Russian population. Phase I (beginning in 1992) included Rounds 1-4 and Phase 2 (beginning in 1994) included Rounds 5-11. Children's PA questions (asked of parents with children present) were added to the RLMS in Phase 2, Round 6 (1995) and have been continued in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2002 (through to Round 11). A complete description of the sampling design can be found elsewhere (Popkin, Baturin, Kohlmeier, & Zohoori, 1997; Popkin, Zohoori, & Baturin, 1996). Informed consent was obtained from all research participants.

Participants

Round 6-11 data were recorded for 6,846 children ages 7-13 years who attended school. Data reduction strategies for these analyses excluded those children (n = 66) above the 99th percentile of distribution for total reported time in MOD/VIG PA (sum of active commuting to school, during school MOD/VIG PA, and before/after school MOD/VIG PA).

Anthropometric and PA Data

Children's weight and height were measured directly, and parents (with children present) were asked a series of previously published questions (Levin, Ainsworth, Kwok, Addy, & Popkin, 1999, p. …

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